Czech bill on foreigners´ health insurance is bad - ombudsman


23.07.2014 12:53

Brno - The Czech bill on foreigners´ health insurance is completely bad because it largely plays into the hands of commercial health insurance companies while it does not integrate foreigners in the system of public health insurance, Ombudsman Anna Sabatova said today.


Ombudsmanka Anna Šabatová (na snímku ze 4. března ve svém brněnském úřadu). ČTK Šálek Václav

She said the integration would help not only foreigners staying in the country, but also the state and health facilities that must pay the health care which commercial insurers do not cover.

The bill was rejected by the government over inconsistence with European law this week.

"The bill has so many shortcomings that it is incorrigible and it should not be passed. The integration of foreigners in the system of public health insurance has long been called for by the Government´s Human Rights Council and the control bodies of international human rights conventions and my predecessor also called for it," Sabatova said.

Foreigners must have insurance policies with a commercial health insurance company.

"Foreigners are a welcome prey for the insurance companies and the insurance is inappropriately expensive. In addition, the insurers refuse to insure certain diseases or the insurance is so expensive that people cannot afford it," Sabatova said.

She cited the early birth of a child as an example. "The parents leave the maternity clinic with debts amounting to hundreds of thousands of crowns which they have no chance of settling. This results in a burden for the health facilities which have to pay the health care," Sabatova said.

She said the foreigners are usually young people who work in the country, which means that their integration would benefit public health insurance companies and consequently the health care system as well.

The bill excludes foreigners doing business as self-employed persons in the Czech Republic and foreigners who have ended their employment and take sickness benefits or a family allowance from public health insurance.


CzechRep denies foreigners right to vote in local polls-ombudsman

Foreigners from EU states with a long-time residence permit in the Czech Republic have been denied the right to take part in local elections for many years which is at variance with European law, Ombudsman Anna Sabatova said today.

She said only those with a permanent residence, but not those with a temporary stay can vote, Sabatova said. She added that she alerted Interior Minister Milan Chovanec to this in a letter on Monday.

"Foreigners can only acquire a permanent residence permit after they stay for five years in the Czech Republic," Sabatova said.

That is why she asked Chovanec to amend the relevant law. "Foreigners´ fundamental right is not ensured in this country," Sabatova said.

She said this also concerns the foreigners´ eligibility and the right to be members of political parties.

Sabatova said she is convinced that the Interior Ministry knows about the problem, but is inactive.

She said foreigners could vote in this autumn´s local elections already. "Primary European law can be applied directly in this case, that is before the legislative procedure of changing laws is completed," Sabatova said.

Foreigners from EU countries could already vote in the spring European Parliament elections thanks to the relevant legislation.

Sabatova said 160,000 foreigners are registered in the Czech Republic. Some 85,000 of them are Slovaks. A part of them have acquired a permanent residence permit.

"We estimate that dozens of thousands of people cannot vote. They naturally concentrate in large towns," Sabatova said.

She said their votes could mainly influence the composition of assemblies in Prague and Brno, the two largest cities in the country.


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